Sketches in Stillness - cute artwork with little lessons and reminders, teaching mindfulness and self-care.
Artist Helps Soothe Anxious Minds With Adorably Supportive Cat Comics - the works of Hector Janse van Rensburg (@Swatercolour) have uplifting and thoughtful little messages, conveyed as words from a feline friend to their anxious human friend (it's quite sweet and wholesome, even if the name's rude.) It's also a tribute to the artist's own late kitty who comforted him.
rt0no - painterly, fairy tale-like artwork, I especially like the artwork featuring a family of very daintily dressed cats. Some art is very eerie and a little creepy (nothing very scary, though!), others are very light and cute, and they're all quite beautifully drawn.
La vie est belle - a twitter full of beautiful things, like scenery, fashion, pretty teasets, antiques, and some works of art. They're captioned with information and artist's names!
_Classic_Anime_ - pretty screencaps and gifs of old anime, largely World Mastwrpiece Theater works, but also Treasure Island, Idol Densetsu Eriko, even some 90's Sailor Moon. The twitter's Arabic, so the rare caps with subs are in Arabic, but most of the content is lovely scenery and food from the traditional, hand-painted cel era.
noranekoshippo - very soft and willowy, dreamy artwork that reminds me of old shoujo manga, like Ooshima Yumiko's (the artist seems to be a fan, she has Chibineko figurines ^^).
halimenursevim - nostalgic and sweet art by a Turkish illustrator of children's books!
karimaro's art [on twitter and on tumblr] - has very, very, very sweet pastel, lineless artwork with a lot of charming animations, like this dreamy, cute (yumekawaii) Birthday animation (here's a clearer version the artist uploaded on YouTube, switch quality to 1080 [HD]!). This is another artist whose work I think is both calming and cheery, so I'll include it in both sections. ♥; The Birthday animation has no dialogue, only background music, so you won't miss dialogue if you watch it without, nor does it need any translation, it's just an sweet, animation spectacle.
(Pastel-coloured deer and a duck mom with a kerchief followed by her ducklings from karimaro's whimsical Birthday animation.)
noellemonade - very pleasant illustrations of girls in cozy surroundings or in cute outfits, with easy-on-the-eyes palettes, there are even some animations! I linked the artist's tumblr blog, because it's easier to appreciate the art at higher quality there, but if you'd like to follow them on twitter, this is their twitter!
SylvanianUK - this is the official twitter for Sylvanian Families, a long-lived line of cute, anthropomorphized animals. The scenes depicted in the toy photographs and little captiions are very heartwarming and wholesome, I think.
Willow S. Linda - short animations and artwork by an artist inspired by the traditionally animated era of Disney animation. She draws her own creations (her cute little merbabies are absolutely adorable, as well as animations inspired by other existing properties (Disney movies, even the Les Mis musical, for instance!), and her friends' stories! Lovely and sweet art and animations, with a classic touch, the palettes are easy on the eyes too.
Peter Rabbit & Friends introduction where Beatrix Potter paints in an idyllic scene, surrounded by nature, when suddenly, it starts to rain... (faint music, rainfall, animal sounds, and human voices)
little heart - a sweet independant animated short about two little ball-jointed dolls, a boy and a girl, who come alive at night, and reside in the window displays of two shops across the street from each other. The dolls do get roughed-up and a limb is (temporarily) detached, but there's nothing harsher than anything you'd find in the first two Toy Story movies, and it's a very sweet, romantic little tale!
nsmmm - whimsical artwork of a glittle goat girl and fawn boy exploring their world. (It's also on the cheer up page, but I think the beautiful artwork and Ghibli-like settings make them good at both making you smile and calming you down!)
Calming Resources for Difficult Times - a collection of calming resources put together by the creators of the Calm app, including stories to listen to, guided meditation/relaxation, exercise routines, and soothing sounds.
tinyfairytales - a twitter full of tiny fairy tales one tweet long! They're both comforting and inspire the imagination and a sense of wonder!
apastoraldream - a twitter full that describes pretty little scenes that I think are quite calming, maybe they'll help you?
Things to do (diversions, playing, talking, exercise):
Depending on what sort of thing is bothering you and what usually helps, try: an active distraction from what's bothering you (this works for triggers, for example); doing the thing or at least part of it for a few minutes at least (this works for work or study-related stress, unless you need rest or food, for example);
spending time alone to think about things without the flood of information and pressures social media brings, or talking to someone you trust, after asking if they're prepared to hear it!
Print, download, or write/draw your own poster of tips for calming down and grounding techniques that work for you (I have a little Post-It note with tips like "Drink cool water," "Breathe slowly and deeply," "Tense and relax muscles," but you can write whatever works for you!). Good examples include this poster by Wholehearted School Counselling (geared at kids, but much of them hold true for adults too).
Make some sand art! Sand colouring has gotten popular as an activity for kids here and you can easily purchase kits (online and offline, they're fairly common, there are fancier ones with jars of sand and more affordable ones with tiny packets of sand).
You are given a colouring page that has sticky-back paper covering different parts, peel away the part you want to colour, then gently pour sand of the colour you want to use, then, when you're done, tilt the colouring sheet so the excess sand falls off (you can collect and reuse the sand!) and only the peeled part will be coloured, since the rest is still covered and clean!
If you want to make your own art, you can get coloured sand from a craft or bookstore (we don't usually have craft stores here, just sections in bookstores or toy stores), or even use sand you collected (just make sure you're careful to taake it from a clean and safe place, so you don't hurt yourself on broken glass and litter from careless people...), make a drawing, rub a gluestick where you want the sand to stick, and pour it on!
Cursors - play a cooperation-based game where you control your cursor and have to navigate various stages, sometimes/often with the help of other players' cursors.
Just Type Stuff - type random things and see what can appear as 3D graphics, clear, then start over again. There's settings, effects, and various 3D models, it can be fun!
Download some e-books to read when needed! If you're short on money, there are plenty of classics available for free, like Pride and Prejudice, and many of Beatrix Potter's older books have recently entered the public domain! If you want to access them without a specialized app or while using the computer, here are some!
Advice and more things to do (calming down, decreasing stress, and increasing productivity):
EMDR - short for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, is a style of therapy done in phases that can help you heal from trauma and overcome fears faster (of course, how fast depends on the person) by reducing the physical symptoms of the fear. After learning ways to calm down (like breathing and grounding techniques [like exposure to cold/drinking cold water, touching a familiar object, naming 5 objects in your surroundings,), you think of your fear while performing a repetitive motion (ex: hand-tapping or a repetivie eye motion... an example is the image below, watch the brush with yout eyes without moving your head), it will help heal the body from the physical sensations of fear, enabling you to recover. In later phases, you think of the earliest memory of the fear, while doing the same motion, what you plan to do the next time you encounter the fear, and how you feel about yourself (pair the negative thoughts with the positive ones too). More details here and more on how it can be integrated as part of healing trauma here. A similar response is achired watching fish swim in a tank, which is also part of animal-assisted therapy. ^^
Follow the brush's movement with your eyes, without moving your head.
Candle & Flower - to calm down from a panic attack, breathe slowly and deeply through your nose as if smelling flowers, then slowly exhale through pursed lips as if making a candle flicker (but not completely blowing it out!). Exhale more slowly than you breathed in!
PilesofLaundry - years before I ever watched or read Fruits Basket, I encountered a quotation from it, a metaphor about seemingly endless piles of laundry and how to go about washing them, without being paralyzed by the thought of how much remains... it's a really beautiful metaphor for anxiety about the future, but is also good advice for anything that can be done a little at a time, instead of all at once. (The links to the caps are in the individual words "piles" "of" "laundry" at the start, click them!)
"Don't chase the rabbit"—to borrow a phrase from Pacific Rim, if you're struck by an unpleasant thought or one that's likely to take you down a dark tunnel, don't pursue it. Just let it go. No need to dwell on it just because it came to mind, breathe, redirect, and refocus your attention on something else and the feeling should pass much quicker than if you gave in to it.
Clean your surroundings (even if it's just picking up a few things lying around, emptying the trash can, sorting your papers... it'll make you feel lighter and will declutter your mind too!)
Try to sleep earlier and longer, if possible, even just a little earlier, it's good for you. Take a power nap if you have the time!
Make a list of things you need to do and cross things out when you do them! They'll (usually) feel less intimidating written down.
Pick up whatever it is you need to do and try to do it for just five or eight minutes or so (you can even set a timer!). If you can keep going, that's great! Often times, it's just starting that's difficult. If you stop after doing just that amount, it's still more than nothing and you can be more at ease knowing you've done something today!
Make little changes so you can feel alive again; break routine by doing even the same things but in a different room, go somewhere different (even just to the shops, gardens—big hospitals usually have therapetic gardens, their importance can't be overstated!), etc. Like pet birds with their bells and shoelace toys, humans need enrichment too, so they won't feel like sad creatures pacing around dull cages...
Eat well, stay hydrated too! Make sure to have at least two different fresh fruits or vegetables a day. Being dehydrated can also really slow you down and give you headaches, water is best, but if you've been dehydrated for a while, something high in electrolytes or sugar and water will reach your brain quicker (so, an iced tea or other sweetened drink would actually be a good idea right now!).
Reach out to a trusted family member or friend about, ask first if they don't mind talking about something that's bothering you (they may be too busy or too overcome by their own or others' problems—check first, I tend to forget this a lot too), then talk it out! The process might help you figure out a good solution or just take the weight off.
(Osamu Tezuka's Angel's Hill.)
Write about your problems and feelings in a journal if you live in a safe place... if cruel people are likely to snoop around and criticize you for feeling things, it's best to have a protected journal online or try other methods to work out your feelings.
Draw how you feel... it can be symbolic, messy, or even intricate and detailed, whatever works for you personally! It doesn't have to be something you share with the world or make sense to anyone else, just the process helps, especially if you don't feel like putting it in words yet.
Read something comforting, like scripture or revisiting an old favourite story from a happier time! Or maybe find and print out some colouring book pages to do? I like things that remind me of my childhood, but different things work for different people.
Ask and see if anyone of your friends is willing to talk to you about something that's bothering you! (Don't press it or assume they're alright with it, everyone's got their own issues to deal with, they might be too tired from their own to listen a note to myself first and foremost).
Cheer someone else up! Doing good and helping people is honestly rewarding and helps you gain a sense of accomplishment, perspective, empathy, and even self-respect... provided what's binging you down isn't emotional fatigue from hyperempathy and carrying too much of others' burdens. Balance is key in all things!
Are you who you want to be? Nobody's perfect, of course, so chasing an unattainable ideal and beating yourself up over falling short is no way to live, but living far from what you believe in and who you want to be can hurt and be restrictive... don't be afraid to grow and be your genuine self, okay? For everyone, there's room for self-improvement.
Good advice for negative self-talk or other intrusive and unwanted thoughts, aside from refuting them with positive thoughts, is to imagine them in a silly voice! Imagine them as coming from someone utterly non-threatening and impossible to take seriously (goofy cartoon characters like Daffy Duck were ones I saw advised).
Remember that no matter how dark or disturbing the content of intrusive thoughts [cw: mentions of rape and self-harm], they don't define you or reflect your character. Obsessions can often revolve around something the sufferer finds morally repugnant, frightening, or disturbing. Seek help if at all possible! (The comic linked was posted by boyburning [CW: much of the other artwork is vent art and can be triggering or include disturbing imagery, like cartoonish gore in one of the most recent pieces])
Resources & Blogs:
Calming Resources for Difficult Times - a collection of calming resources put together by the creators of the Calm app, including stories to listen to, guided meditation/relaxation, exercise routines, and soothing sounds. I listed it above in the Sounds section, but it also has other resources, like guides for journalling and other useful things.